McPheeters Makes $1M Gift to College of Business and Analytics

Lynn McPheetersAs one of SIU’s most resolute benefactors, F. Lynn McPheeters has left an impression on the university he credits with setting him up for success.

During a recent SIU Foundation Board of Trustees meeting, McPheeters, an emeritus member of the board, announced a $1 million estate gift. It will supplement the existing McPheeters Family Scholarship Endowment and establish the F. Lynn McPheeters Chair of Finance Endowment Fund in the College of Business and Analytics.

McPheeters, a 1964 graduate, donated $1 million in 2017, which provides scholarships for first-generation COBA students who are from Illinois counties south of Interstate 80, with preference given to those majoring in finance or accounting.

“I was able to complete my degree because of campus work opportunities and scholarship money,” McPheeters said. “In order to assure that future Salukis have that type of opportunity, a few years ago I established the McPheeters Family Scholarship Endowment.”

Half of the new gift will add support to the scholarship fund, and the other half will establish the endowed chair.

“Hopefully, this will spur others to make commitments, either on-the-spot commitments or future legacy-type commitments, to help us carry forward and achieve the new $500 million goal for the Forever SIU campaign,” McPheeters said.

A LAUNCHING PAD

McPheeters transferred to SIU from Canton College, now Spoon River College, a community college in his hometown of Canton, and finished his accounting degree at SIU.

Soon after, he started at Caterpillar, Inc., and began a steady rise through the company. In 1973, he moved to Switzerland to serve in a financial management position with Caterpillar overseas. He also worked in Tokyo for Caterpillar Mitsubishi and in Hong Kong at Caterpillar Far East Limited. He retired in 2005 as vice president and chief financial officer for the Corporate Services Division.

“SIU led me to an incredible career with Caterpillar that took our family around the world and gave us tremendous opportunities,” McPheeters said. “Southern Illinois University Carbondale made all this possible, and I’m very happy I’m able to do this.”

LIFELONG COMMITMENT

The new endowed chair is the second established by McPheeters in the College of Business and Analytics. In 2006, he and his wife, Susan, donated $585,000 of appreciated Caterpillar stock, which was invested to create the Susan F. and F. Lynn McPheeters College of Business Leadership Endowed Chair.

“Lynn McPheeters has been associated with SIU and the College of Business and Analytics for a long time. He has also been a loyal and generous friend,” said Terry Clark, dean of the College of Business and Analytics, at the time. “Lynn’s institutional spiritedness is legendary. Through his generosity, another generation of Salukis will be helped onto the ladder that Lynn climbed so notably upon graduation from the college in 1964.”

In the decades since his graduation, McPheeters has served SIU in multiple ways. He joined the SIU Foundation Board in 2002 and served as chair of the audit committee and board president. He was one of the first members of the College of Business and Analytics external advisory board and inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame in 1988. Among other honors, he earned the College of Business Alumni Achievement Award in 2004.

“I’m very proud to be part of this organization, the Foundation, to call myself a Saluki,” McPheeters said.

FOREVER SIU

The Forever SIU campaign launched in 2017 with the goal of raising $75 million in three years. The Foundation sped past that milestone seven months early, which prompted the decision to set a new goal of $90 million.

“At the end of 2019, we had already surpassed that new goal,” Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation, said. “That’s when we set our sights on $200 million by 2024.”

Once it became clear that SIU and its supporters were going to reach that goal early, Chancellor Austin Lane announced that the Forever SIU campaign would extend to 2028 with a goal of raising $500 million.

Students lead fundraising charge to establish new lounge

Dr. Harvey Henson, associate professor, (from left) Chancellor Austin Lane, Leadership Development Program students Dalton Cantrell and Sam Ramirez, and Dr. Bruce DeRuntz, director of the LDP cut the ribbon on the new Student Lounge in the College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics.

By Jeff Wilson

The College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics is producing the next generation of technical leaders, and the Leadership Development Program (LDP) is a microcosm of that mission.

Students in the program have increased their fundraising activity since the inception of the SIU Day of Giving in 2017. Through their Day of Giving efforts and telefund calling operation, LDP students have raised about $20,000 each year. The funds have been used for equipment and facility upgrades used by the students.

Their largest project has been the renovation and establishment of the Student Lounge on the bottom floor of the COECTM building. Through their fundraising efforts, bolstered by matching funds from Dick and Brigitte Blaudow and furniture donation from James and Deana Jannetides of University Loft Company, the lounge offers space for students to gather, study, and relax.

“This is an incredible accomplishment,” said Chancellor Austin Lane during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 9. “This is a golden opportunity to showcase our university and how our students and our alumni can make an impact.”

The creation of the Student Lounge was a multi-year project, which entailed floor-to-ceiling renovation. What was previously a poorly lit room housing vending machines, now features LED lights, new tables, barstools, chairs, and two large-screen TVs that promote college and university events.

“This is an amazing program,” said Sam Ramirez, a member of the LDP. “It has been one of the highlights of my time at SIU.”

The opening of the Student Lounge is just one of many potential projects planned in the college. Improvements to classrooms, study spaces, and other common areas are under consideration.

“This a momentous opportunity to celebrate what student initiative can accomplish,” said Bruce DeRuntz, director of the Leadership Development Program. “All of the credit goes to the students of the LDP and our sponsors.”

For more information about the Leadership Development Program, visit engineering.siu.edu/ldp. To make a gift, visit siuf.org.

Alumnus honors Werlichs with $525K in donations

Assistantship, scholarship named for longtime professor, family

SIU Morris Library

Most worthwhile college experiences include connecting with others. Some of these interactions are fleeting, but some make a lasting impact.

One such connection from decades ago inspired an SIU alumnus to ensure that impact stretches decades into the future. With two gifts, totaling $525,000, he and his wife have honored Dr. David Werlich and his family.

“I don’t think I would have ever finished my graduate degree without their support,” said the alumnus, who wished to remain anonymous. The first is a $425,000 gift that will establish the Werlich Family Graduate Assistantship in Digital Humanities at Morris Library Endowment Fund. The other is a $100,000 donation that creates the David P. Werlich Graduate Scholarship Endowment Fund in the Department of History.

Dr. David Werlich, an emeritus history professor, taught courses in Latin American history. However, it wasn’t his classes that inspired such a philanthropic gesture.

“I never took a class with Dr. Werlich, but I knew his son, Tom, and we went to graduate school at the same time. When I was there, all my undergrad friends had left, and I felt kind of alone,” said the alumnus. “That’s when we became extremely good friends. He introduced me to his family, and I ended up spending a lot of time at his home in Carbondale.

“Dr. Werlich would talk about a lot of things – history, politics, and particularly South America. The Werlichs were very good to me. It was like having a second family. It was vital for me.”

THE WERLICH LEGACY

A recipient of five assistantships during his time at SIU, the alumnus felt it was important to give other students similar opportunities. The Werlich Family Graduate Assistantship will help the library with its digitalization project.

Graduate students will be able to apply for the assistantship and receive it multiple times to help SIU and Morris Library develop future leaders in the field of digitalization.

“This gift will allow us to bring more of the treasures held in the Special Collections Research Center to our students and faculty in a digital format that leads to a deeper engagement with the actual documents,” said John Pollitz, dean of Library Affairs. “It promotes collaboration with the history department directly but will and provides the foundation for more digital humanities projects across campus.”

Pollitz shared his experience with Dr. Werlich, which makes this donation that much more meaningful.

“I took two classes in Latin American history from Dr. Werlich. They had a real impact on my life,” he said. “Many things about Dr. Werlich’s teaching have stayed with me since those times. He made the subject come alive and exciting. The idea of honoring this wonderful professor and making the library part of this gift was a high point in my life as a librarian.”

The David P. Werlich Graduate Scholarship will benefit a student in the Department of History who is focusing on Latino Studies.

“Dr. Werlich’s career at SIU spanned four decades and left a deep imprint on the teaching of history to thousands of students,” said Dr. Jonathan Bean, professor of history at SIU. “Under his leadership, SIU hired a new generation of history professors to reinvigorate the field.”

Dr. Bean, too, was directly impacted by the career of Dr. Werlich.

“He was famous for his wicked sense of humor, and he was popular as an instructor,” he said. “He was also mentor to students and faculty in ways that went beyond the imparting of advice. I am indebted to him for his mentoring – he made my early years at SIU a pleasure and his mentoring is something I aspire to pay forward to the next generation. The ripples of his influence will be felt for years to come.”

‘THIS IS WHAT IT TAKES’

After years of making smaller scale donations, including spreading funds to multiple areas during recent SIU Days of Giving, a conversation about something more substantial began.

“I was donating to a wide variety of causes, but I had not committed to a larger donation,” the alumnus said. “I knew I wanted to honor Dr. Werlich and his family.”

Both projects are forward-thinking in their nature, considering the value of digital records and understanding the importance of diversity, particularly that of the Latino culture.

“It’s important for the future success of the university. We want kids who are interested in focusing on these things,” he said.

The spirit of what Dr. Werlich was able to do for this particular alumnus is reflected in his generous donation.

“This is what it takes to have extras at the university,” he said. “There’s an element of feeling good about helping people out. It’s not easy out there.”

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